Yankees acquire Verdugo from Red Sox in 4-player trade
The Boston Red Sox traded outfielder Alex Verdugo to the archrival New York Yankees for right-handed pitchers Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert, and Nicholas Judice, the teams announced Tuesday.
The Yankees have been searching for offensive upgrades this winter, with a particular focus on the outfield.
Verdugo has experience at all three outfield spots but is primarily a corner outfielder. Right now, he'd slot in as the Yankees' left fielder, but that could change depending on what else they do this offseason.
Verdugo spent the last four seasons with the Red Sox. He was originally acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020 as the centerpiece of the Mookie Betts trade.
He heads to the other side of the rivalry after a difficult 2023 season with the Red Sox. While he received a Gold Glove nomination in right field, the 27-year-old hit .264/.324/.421 and saw his strikeout rate spike by 2%. He was also benched twice by manager Alex Cora, first for not running hard in May and then later in the season after arriving late to the ballpark. After the season, he said this year "left a bad taste in the mouth."
Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow acknowledged last month that he was getting calls about Verdugo's availability.
For his career, Verdugo owns a .281/.337/.428 slash line with 57 homers and 255 RBIs over parts of seven seasons with the Red Sox and Dodgers. The Arizona native is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $9.2 million in 2024.
Breslow added Wednesday that the Red Sox feel comfortable with their outfield mix of Jarren Duran, Masataka Yoshida, Wilyer Abreu, and Ceddanne Rafaela and don't have any other outfield moves in the works, according to The Athletic's Jen McCaffrey.
Weissert is the only pitcher heading to Boston with big-league experience. The 28-year-old reliever made his debut with the Yankees in 2022 and owns a 4.60 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 33 strikeouts in 29 appearances across the last two seasons. He posted a 2.90 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 10 saves at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year.
Fitts, 23, was ranked as the Yankees' No. 12 prospect by MLB.com prior to the trade. He posted a 3.48 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 163 strikeouts across 27 starts for Double-A Somerset in 2023, his second professional season.
Judice, 22, was the Yankees' eighth-round draft pick out of Louisiana-Monroe this past summer. He was primarily a reliever in college, posting a 4.09 ERA with a 10.5 K/9 rate over 59 appearances (six starts). Judice has yet to pitch professionally.